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Howard Spivak is currently the Director of the Division of Violence Prevention in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The science and practice of youth violence prevention have evolved dramatically over the last several generations of researchers and practitioners. Even the notion that youth violence is a public health problem is relatively new. An appreciation for this evolution and history of youth violence prevention is essential for the next generation of researchers and practitioners, so that they may build on lessons learned and move the field forward in the most relevant and productive directions. Dr. Spivak will provide an overview of the state of the science and practice, with particular focus on how the CDC’s work addresses current needs. He will then discuss how the CDC’s current efforts shed light on the direction our work must take in order to fulfill the mission of stopping youth violence before it starts. The next generation of the youth violence prevention community – whether researchers or practitioners – will be instrumental in addressing barriers to implementation of evidence-based programs and practices, generating an evidence base for strategies that achieve population-level impact, scaling up existing evidence-based strategies for greater impact, and developing a prevention infrastructure that includes all necessary stakeholders and ensures the sustainability of our efforts.
Dr. Spivak has been involved in the field of violence prevention for 30 years, specifically focusing on youth violence prevention. He co-founded the Boston Youth Violence Prevention Program, the first such program in the nation using the public health model as it core strategy. This project was a central element in the efforts in Boston that lead to an almost three year period without juvenile homicides. He established the first Office of Youth Violence Prevention in the country based in a state health department while serving as Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Prior to that, he was Director of Adolescent Health Services for the city of Boston.
Dr. Spivak has held a number of positions in academia including Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health at Tufts University School of Medicine. He is extensively published with numerous articles in scientific journals and lay publications. He is the co-author of two books on youth violence prevention: Murder Is No Accident and Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice.